Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace now feel like warm-ups for newbie Bond star Daniel Craig, pacing laps before the full-on marathon. If you buy this analogy, then Skyfall must be seen as the race of Craig’s life, the one where he, in those final tough miles, breaks free of the pack with cool confidence and a steady hand at the helm (Road to Perdition director Sam Mendes). The focus here is on the ties that bind Bond and M (Dame Judi Dench).
The pair is defined as part of the old guard in the espionage world, old-school at a time when public and political opinion are pushing for next generation tactics and innovation, especially in the face of threats from a cyber-terrorist (Javier Bardem) with connections to M and MI6. While comparisons will be drawn to Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight and the Bourne franchise, Skyfall is first and foremost a Bond movie and debuting as it does, during the 50th anniversary of the series, the closest competitors in the race are the 22 other Bond films and I have to say, this celebratory installment is easily the best Bond film I’ve had the pleasure of catching in theaters. Skyfall reboots the series by cleverly folding in key elements from Bond’s past, creating an all-true Bond to lead us into a wide-open future. (PG-13) Grade: A